‘I raced around to me dad and I said, “Dad, there’s someone to see you”. And he said, “Oh, someone from soccer?” And I said, “No, it’s the police – we stole a car last night”. And that was that.’
In the early 1960s Georgi went to court and was sent to an institution in central Perth which housed delinquent boys.
‘In the home they used to strip us off and they would tell you to bend over and open your legs and just stare at us for about an hour or so. Mr Fernley – and I don’t know the other bloke.’ The supervisors would walk up and down the line inspecting the boys’ exposed anuses and genitals. This abuse occurred several times while Georgi was held at the home.
‘We were 13 and we were kids, you know … We thought we were tough but when you get put in a home you learn what toughness is.’
Fernley would enter the boys’ dormitory while they were making their beds in the morning and supervise closely. ‘And while we were doing it he’d try to get close to you and that.’
Fernley owned a boat and would invite boys to go out on the water with him. ‘And they’d come back and tell us, “He’s a bit funny that bloke, he’s tried to touch us and everything”.’ When Georgi was invited onto the boat he was forewarned. He politely refused to go.
‘We never told anybody. I can’t explain why we never said anything. I’m sure I said something to my father, and I’m sure he brushed it off or something. It was about 10 years ago I said something to my mother. They listened to me but not with a great deal of interest … maybe they didn’t want to acknowledge it …
‘We were fearful really. We had people telling us what to do. Since that day I have not liked authority … People that put uniforms on take a sort of authority that is beyond my comprehension ...
‘Sexually I haven’t had a great life. I was told I was handsome. I’ve had difficulty.’ Georgi admits he has never been comfortable with anyone seeing him naked since his experiences in the home.
Georgi drank heavily for many years. He eventually turned to Alcoholics Anonymous for help and has been a member ever since. ‘I became an alcoholic. I don’t drink. I haven’t had a drink for 30 years.’
Georgi is strongly supported by his girlfriend and his adult daughter. He has also discovered a strong faith in God late in life and feels this has changed the way he sees the world.
‘When I’ve got problems I don’t ring you up, I ring Him up. I talk to Him. Because when I ask you and your friends listening to me I get three different answers. But when I talk to this God I get two – mine and his – and I tell you what, mine’s not usually right.’
Georgi is trying to put his anger and thoughts of revenge aside. ‘If I want to blame I’m not going to be happy because all I’ve got is concentrating on the blame instead of what could be a future. I toss with that on a daily basis but I’m in front and on top.’
‘We were only kids. We just went for a joyride around the block, you know, and that was it. It changed your life. But we did it. Can’t blame anybody else.’